World War Three?

A “Hybrid Geo-Financial War” Between Nato and Russia is Dangerously Escalating

by Mac Slavo via SHTFPlan.com {1}

Zero Hedge (May 21 2016)

Russia is preparing for war against the West.

Putin is being urged to do so because the US and Nato have been preparing for war themselves.

Syria and Ukraine have just been warm ups. The real thing could be around the corner, and other proxy flashpoints are ready to line up.

The rising tensions for military conflict are sharply complicated by the stealthier financial war that is nonetheless taking a serious toll across the globe, in particular as collapsing oil prices put incredible pressure on those regimes who have cast a big social benefits net financed primarily by $100 per barrel oil.

As SHTF previously reported, that made Venezuela {2} the most vulnerable, and it is plain today that the oil rich nation is collapsing. However, the manipulation of these prices was also meant to put pressure on Russia (as well as other countries) … while the attempt to undercut Russian natural gas by taking over Ukraine and have Nato supply gas to Europe instead of Russia has so far failed.

It is a sophisticated geopolitical gamble that perhaps no one is winning, apart from who manages not to topple over.

A detailed, but nonetheless alarming article by Alastair Crooke reports that there is significant pressure on Putin from other Russian leaders to take a hard line in the days ahead:

 

Putin carries, at one end of his balancing pole, the various elites more oriented toward the West and the “Washington Consensus” and, at the pole’s other end, those concerned that Russia faces both a real military threat from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and a hybrid geo-financial war as well. He is being pressed to come down on the side of the latter, and to pry the grip of the former from the levers of economic power that they still tightly hold.

In short, the issue coming to a head in the Kremlin is whether Russia is sufficiently prepared for further Western efforts to ensure it does not impede or rival American hegemony. Can Russia sustain a geo-financial assault, if one were to be launched? And is such a threat real or mere Western posturing for other ends?

What is so important is that if these events are misread in the West, which is already primed to see any Russian defensive act as offensive and aggressive, the ground will already have been laid for escalation. We already had the first war to push back against Nato in Georgia. The second pushback war is ongoing in Ukraine. What might be the consequences to a third?

In mid-April, General Alexander Bastrykin, the head of Russia’s Investigative Committee (a sort of super attorney general, as Cohen describes it), wrote that Russia  –  its role in Syria notwithstanding  –  is militarily ill prepared to face a new war either at home or abroad, and that the economy is in a bad way, too. Russia, furthermore, is equally ill prepared to withstand a geo-financial war. He goes on to say that the West is preparing for war against Russia and that Russia’s leadership does not appear to be aware of or alert to the danger the country faces.

[…]

A retired Russian general entered the fray to confirm that the West is indeed preparing for war  –  he pointed to Nato deployments in the Baltics, the Black Sea and Poland, among other places  –  and underlines again the unpreparedness of the Russian military to face this threat. “This is a heavy indictment of Putin”, Cohen says of the revelations from this analysis. “It is now out in the open”.

[…]

The government’s economic policy is being criticized. The opposing faction wants to see an immediate mobilization of the military and the economy for war, conventional or hybrid. This is not about wanting Putin ousted; it is about pushing him to wield the knife  –  and to cut deeply. {3}

 

There is every reason to think that the clashing interests of Nato and Russia can and will spark more flashpoints across the map and around the arc that generally surrounds the former Soviet empire, which the United States hopes to contain in order to maintain its own crumbling empire.

While President Obama, now officially the president to oversee the longest period of war (albeit somewhat contracted), may be reluctant to pursue in form of open conflict with Russia, a president like Hillary Clinton may be all-too willing to do so. She has already called in recent days for an escalated ‘war against ISIS’, which handily also gives an open ended pretext to challenge Nato-Russian conflict points wherever they might appear.

Donald Trump’s positions here are as yet unclear, but he is beginning to surround himself with the same type of advisers – including Henry Kissinger –  that have brought us to this point.

With economic decline and a definite fatigue for war, Americans face an end of the dollar as the world currency standard and an era where the BRICS nations, and in particular the militaries of Russia and China, pose an existential threat to the world that the US and Britain carved out in the World Two era and which they essentially won away from the Soviets by the end of the Cold War.

These waxing and waning empires are dangerous as their vulnerabilities and short-comings become exposed, and their territories challenged.

That fact that Putin is being prodded from within Russia to be less diplomatic and more aggressive in posturing for war is downright unsettling. Many of our most dangerous American leaders are all-too willing to poke the bear and evoke a reaction.

Ukraine and Syria, as well as the Georgian conflict before it in 2008, prove that the US will continue waging war and posturing for global domination in spite of the lack of a coherent narrative (but there’s ISIS), or any convincing pretext for sending troops and sponsoring proxy armies.

The American people are sick of war, but the misleaders in Washington are eager enough to reinvigorate their sense of power and entitlement to control the affairs here and abroad. After all, war – in a sick kind of way – is good for the economy, and a big one means a mandate of emergency powers and a period of unquestioning obedience from the domestic population.

The threat is all-too real, and a serious provocation, like the false flag attacks that have sparked most of the wars in the past, could be on the horizon.

That all basically points to World War Three … or at least a full second Cold War. It could be a long way off, but the sense is that the scent is in the air.

Links:

{1} http://www.shtfplan.com/headline-news/wwiii-a-hybrid-geo-financial-war-between-nato-and-russia-is-dangerously-escalating_05202016

{2} http://www.shtfplan.com/headline-news/falling-oil-prices-could-cripple-vulnerable-russia-cant-rely-on-oil-revenues-to-rescue-economy-hit-by-sanctions_12012014

{3} http://www.huffingtonpost.com/alastair-crooke/putin-west-war_b_9991162.html

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-05-21/wwiii-hybrid-geo-financial-war-between-nato-and-russia-dangerously-escalating

Categories: Uncategorized

Can Russia Survive Washington’s Attack?

2016/05/26 1 comment

by Paul Craig Roberts

Institute for Political Economy (May 19 2016)

It is not only American generals who are irresponsible and declare on the basis of no evidence whatsoever that “Russia is an existential threat to the United States” and also to the Baltic states, Poland, Georgia, Ukraine, and all of Europe. British generals also participate in the warmongering. UK retired general and former Nato commander Sir Richard Shirreff, Deputy Supreme Allied Commander in Europe until 2014, has just declared that nuclear war with Russia is “entirely possible” within the year. {1}

My loyal readers know that I, myself, have been warning for some time about the likelihood of nuclear war. However, there is a vast difference between me and the Western generals. I see the war as the consequence of the neoconservative drive for US world hegemony. The neoconservative drive for world hegemony is acknowledged by the neoconservatives themselves in their public position papers, and it has a fifteen year record of being implemented in America’s many and ongoing wars in the Middle East and Africa. Although the Presstitute media does its best to keep our focus away from the known facts, the facts remain known.

The position of the Western generals is that “Russian aggression” is driving an innocent America/Nato to nuclear war.

Here is General Shirreff’s list of “Russian aggressions”:

 

He [Putin] has invaded Georgia, he has invaded the Crimea, he has invaded Ukraine. He has used force and got away with it. In a period of tension, an attack on the Baltic states … is entirely plausible.

 

Shirreff is talking about make-believe happenings that even if real would be taking place inside what were until recently Russia’s long-standing national boundaries.

General Shirreff strikes me as either uninformed or a dissembler. It is the United States and Israel who use force and get away with it. The Russian invasion of the former Russian province, Georgia, was a response to the American puppet government’s invasion of South Ossetia in which the American and israeli trained and equipped Georgian troops killed Russian peace-keeping troops and a large number of South Ossetian civilians while the Russian government was at the Beijing olympics.

It only took a small fraction of the Russian Army a few hours to roll up the American and Israeli trained Georgian Army. Putin had the former Russian province in his hand. He could have hung the American puppet president and reincorporated Georgia back into Russia, where it probably belongs, having spent all of modern history in that location.

But Putin did not see Georgia as a prize, and having made his point, let the Americans have their puppet state back. The president at the time, a scummy scoundrel, was thrown out of the country by Georgians and now serves the American puppet state of Ukraine, like so many others who are not Ukrainian. Apparently, Washington can’t find enough Ukrainians who will sell out their country for Washington and has to bring in foreigners to help Washington rule Ukraine.

There has been, alas, no Russian invasion of Ukraine. Putin would not even accept the pleas of the Russian majority populations in the breakaway provinces of Donetsk and Luhansk to be reincorporated back into Russia where they belong. If Putin actually wanted Ukraine, he doesn’t need to send in an army. He can take back the eastern and southern parts just by accepting the pleas of the people to again be a part of Russia.

The only plea that Putin accepted was that of the Crimeans, who with an extremely high turnout never experienced in “western democracies” voted 97.6 percent to rejoin Russia, where Crimea resided for longer than the US has existed, until Khrushchev, a Ukrainian, transferred Crimea from the Russian Soviet Republic to the Ukrainian Soviet Republic when both were provinces of the Soviet Union.

Little doubt that Putin accepted Crimea’s plea because Russia’s only warm water port and entrance into the Mediterranean Sea is Russia’s naval base in Crimea, and little doubt that Putin refused Donetsk and Luhansk in order to deflect Washington’s propagandistic charges, such as those of former general Shirreff. Putin reasoned, mistakenly in my view, that his refusal to accept Donetsk and Luhansk would reassure Washington’s Nato puppet states and lessen Washington’s influence over Europe. For the corrupt Europeans, facts are of no consequence. Washington’s money prevails.

Putin doesn’t understand the power of Washington’s money. In the entire West only money counts. There is no such thing as Washington’s word, government integrity, truth, or even empirical facts. There are only well-propagated lies. The entire West is a lie. The West exists for one reason only – corporate profits.

The retired general Shirreff claims, without any evidence, which is typical, that Putin “used force and got away with it”.

What force is the general talking about? Can he identify the force? The independent international observers of the Crimean voting report that it was completely fair, that there was no intimidation, no troops or any Russian intimidation present.

The former Nato general Shirreff believes that a Russian attack “on the Baltic states is entirely possible”. For what reason? The Baltic states, former provinces of the Soviet Union, comprise no threat whatsoever to Russia. The Russians have no reason whatsoever to attack the Baltic states. It was Russia that gave the Baltic states their independence. Just as it was Russia that gave Ukraine and Georgia their independence.

Imperial Washington is leveraging the reasonableness of the Russian government to put Russia in a propagandistic light. The Russian government has permitted itself to be put on the defensive and has given the attack to Washington.

Russia has not attacked anyone except the terrorist group ISIS. Allegedly, Washington is opposed to terrorism, but Washington has been using ISIS in an effort to overthrow the Syrian government with terrorism. Russia has put a halt to that. The question before us is whether the Russian government so desires to be accepted by the West that Putin sells out Syria to Washington/Israeli dismemberment in order to show that Russia is a good partner for the West.

If Russia doesn’t get over its affection for the West, Russia will lose its independence.

My understanding is that Russia has been resurrected as a Christian, morally principally country, perhaps the only one on earth. The question that the Russian people and their Russian government need, desperately, to ask themselves is: Do we want to be associated with the War Criminal West that disobeys not only its own laws, but also international laws?

The vast majority of the evil in the world resides in the West. It is the west with its lies and greed that has devastated millions of people in seven countries during the new 21st century. This is the most threatening beginning of a new millennium in modern times.

Unsatisfied with its looting of the Third World, South America, Greece, Portugal, Latvia, Argentina, and now Brazil and Ukraine, the Western Capitalists have their sights set on Russia, China, India, and South Africa.

What a prize it would be to get Russia with all that vast expanse of Siberia that can be environmentally brutalized and destroyed for capitalist profits. The Russian government’s offering of free land in Siberia had better be limited to Russian citizens. Otherwise, the land is likely to be bought up by the West, which will use its ownership of Russia to destroy the country.

The Russians and the Chinese are blinded by the fact that they lived for decades under oppressive and failed regimes. They look to the West as success. Their misreading of the West endangers their independence.

Neither Russia nor China seek conflict. It is a gratuitous and reckless act for Washington to send the message to Russia and China that they must choose vassalage or war.

Links:

{1} http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3596977/The-outbreak-nuclear-war-year-West-Putin-entirely-plausible-says-former-Nato-chief-promoting-nvel-2017-war-Russia.html

Copyright (c)(c) 2016 PaulCraigRoberts.org. All rights reserved.

http://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2016/05/19/can-russia-survive-washingtons-attack-paul-craig-roberts/

Categories: Uncategorized

Nato Announces War Policy Against Russia

by Eric Zuesse

Zero Hedge (May 18 2016)

On May 18th, Britain’s Guardian headlined “West and Russia on course for war, says ex-Nato deputy commander” {3} and reported that the former deputy commander of Nato, the former British general Sir Alexander Richard Shirreff (who was Supreme Allied Commander in Europe from 2011 to 2014), expressed outrage that Britain isn’t urgently preparing for war against Russia, and also reported that “He describes Russia as now the west’s most dangerous adversary and says Putin’s course can only be stopped if the west wakes up to the real possibility of war and takes urgent action”.  In a chilling scenario, he predicts that Russia, in order to escape what it believes to be encirclement by Nato, will seize territory in eastern Ukraine. That’s the Donbass region, where there has been a civil war {4}.

This encirclement by Nato is, apparently, about to be expanded: Shirreff will now be satisfied by Nato, even if not by its member the UK, of which Shirreff happens to be a citizen. New Europe bannered the same day, “Nato lays down the cards on its Russia policy” {5}, and reported that, “In two distinct pre-ministerial press conferences on Wednesday [May 18th], the General Secretary of Nato Jens Stoltenberg and the US Ambassador to Nato, Daglas Lute, introduced the Russia agenda to be covered. Both Nato leaders said that the Accession Protocol Montenegro is signing on Thursday is a strong affirmation of Nato’s open door policy, mentioning explicitly Georgia. ‘We will continue to defend Georgia’s right to make its own decisions’, Stoltenberg said”. Georgia is on Russia’s southwestern flank; so, it could be yet another a nuclear-missile base right on Russia’s borders, complementing Poland and the Baltics on Russia’s northwestern flank. (The US itself has around 800 military bases in foreign countries {6}, and so even Russia’s less-populous eastern regions would be able to be obliterated virtually in an instant, if the US President so decides. And President Obama is already committed to the view that Russia is by far the world’s most “aggressive” enemy, more so even than international jihadists are {7}.)

According to the New Europe report, Stoltenberg announced that where the 1997 Nato-Russia Agreement {8} asserts that

 

The member States of Nato reiterate that they have no intention, no plan and no reason to deploy nuclear weapons on the territory of new members, nor any need to change any aspect of Nato’s nuclear posture or nuclear policy  –  and do not foresee any future need to do so. This subsumes the fact that Nato has decided that it has no intention, no plan, and no reason to establish nuclear weapon storage sites on the territory of those members, whether through the construction of new nuclear storage facilities or the adaptation of old nuclear storage facilities. Nuclear storage sites are understood to be facilities specifically designed for the stationing of nuclear weapons, and include all types of hardened above or below ground facilities (storage bunkers or vaults) designed for storing nuclear weapons.

 

The agreement is effectively terminated, and, “Largely as a result of the Crimean annexation {9}, the repeated violations of the Minsk ceasefire agreement, and the demands of eastern flank member states, boots on the ground will increase considerably in the region, if not ‘substantially’ “, along Russia’s northeastern flank, in Poland and the Baltics. Furthermore, “Poland has already said that it regards this agreement ‘obsolete’ “. So, General Stoltenberg is taking his lead on that from the Polish government.

According to both Russia and the separatist Donbass eastern region of the former Ukraine, the violations of the Minsk II agreement regarding Donbass are attacks by Ukrainian government forces firing into Donbass and destroying buildings and killing residents there, however Nato and other US allies ignore those allegations and just insist that all violations of the Minsk II accords are to be blamed on Russia. That is also the position advanced by Shirreff, who thinks that Russia has no right to be concerned about being surrounded by Nato forces.

Consequently, regardless of whether or not the Minsk II violations are entirely, or even mainly, or even partially, due to Ukrainian firing into Donbass, Nato appears to be gearing up for its upcoming July ministerial meeting to be an official termination of its vague promises, which Nato had made in the 1997 Nato-Russia agreement (technically called the “Founding Act on Mutual Relations, Cooperation and Security between Nato and the Russian Federation signed in Paris, France, 27 May 1997” {8}). That document said “Nato and Russia do not consider each other as adversaries. They share the goal of overcoming the vestiges of earlier confrontation and competition and of strengthening mutual trust and cooperation”. In this regard, it was  –  though in public and written form, instead of merely private and verbal form  –  similar to the promises that the West had given to Soviet then Russian President Mikhail Gorbachev in 1990, which have already been rampantly violated by the West many times and without apology {10}. The expectation and demand is clearly that Russia must allow itself to be surrounded by Nato, and to do this without complaint, and therefore also without taking military countermeasures, which Nato would call yet more “aggression by Russia”. Any defensive moves by Russia can thus be taken by the West to be unacceptable provocation and justification for a “pre-emptive” attack against Russia by Nato. That would be World War Three {11}, and it would be based upon the same accusation against Russia that the Republican candidate for the US Presidency, Mitt Romney, had stated when he was running against Barack Obama: “This is, without question, our number one geopolitical foe” {12}. Perhaps the West here intends the final solution of the Russian problem {13}.

_____

Eric Zuesse is an investigative historian and author, most recently, of They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910~2010 {1}, and of  Christ’s Ventriloquists: The Event that Created Christianity {2}.

Links:

{1} http://www.amazon.com/Theyre-Not-Even-Close-Democratic/dp/1880026090/ref=sr_1_9?ie=UTF8&qid=1339027537&sr=8-9

{2} http://www.amazon.com/dp/B007Q1H4EG

{3} http://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/may/18/west-russia-on-course-for-war-nato-ex-deputy-commander

{4} http://rinf.com/alt-news/editorials/obama-definitely-caused-malaysian-airliner-downed/

{5} https://www.neweurope.eu/article/nato-lays-cards-russia-policy/

{6} http://www.tomdispatch.com/blog/176043/tomgram%3A_david_vine,_our_base_nation/

{7} http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2015/02/obamas-new-national-security-strategy-rabidly-anti-russian.html

{8} http://www.nato.int/cps/en/natohq/official_texts_25468.htm

{9} http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2015/02/entire-case-sanctions-russia-pure-lies.html

{10} http://rinf.com/alt-news/breaking-news/how-america-double-crossed-russia-and-shamed-the-west/

{11} http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2014/06/indications-u-s-planning-nuclear-attack-russia.html

{12} http://rinf.com/alt-news/breaking-news/obama-ratchets-invade-russia/

{13} http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2014/06/u-s-re-started-cold-war-backstory-precipitated-ukraines-civil-war.html

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-05-18/nato-announces-war-policy-against-russia

Categories: Uncategorized

Ex-general says …

… Nato-Russia nuclear war ‘possible within a year’

RT.com (May 18 2016)

Nato’s former deputy military chief in Europe says his book, a fictional story which describes a nuclear war with Russia over the Baltic nations taking place in 2017, is based on an “entirely plausible” scenario.

General Sir Richard Shirreff, from Britain, served at the second-highest Nato military office in Europe between 2011 and 2014. He says his experience acquired in the alliance of war-gaming future conflicts helped him model the narrative for the book.

According to his scenario, starting next year Russia would first occupy Ukraine to secure a land route to Crimea and then invade the three Baltic nations, all of which are members of Nato. The move, Shirreff argued, would be driven by the perception of Nato’s weakness and Russia’s opposition to what it sees as the alliance’s attempts to encircle it.

“We need to judge President [Vladimir] Putin by his deeds not his words”, the retired general told BBC Radio 4’s Today program. “He has invaded Georgia, he has invaded the Crimea, he has invaded Ukraine. He has used force and got away with it.”

The supposed invasion of Georgia in 2008 was Russia’s response to a Georgian attack on its breakaway region of South Ossetia, which started with the killings of Russian peacekeepers stationed there to prevent such hostilities. Russia responded by defeating the Nato-trained Georgian Army and withdrew. Moscow later recognized South Ossetia as a sovereign state, formalizing its de facto independence from Georgia that had been in place since the 1990s.

The supposed invasion of Ukraine in 2014 was Russia’s use of its troops, which were legally deployed in Crimea under a treaty with Ukraine, to prevent hostilities after an armed coup in Kiev. The Crimean people, who overwhelmingly opposed the new Ukrainian government and its nationalistic leanings, voted in a referendum to part ways with Ukraine and rejoin Russia.

If Russia used military force against any Nato members, the entire alliance would be obliged to declare war on Russia. The US is the most powerful member of Nato and has the world’s biggest military force. According to Shirreff, Russia would use its nuclear arsenal to counter Nato’s response.

“Be under no illusion whatsoever – Russian use of nuclear weapons is hardwired into Moscow’s military strategy”, he said, omitting the fact that Nato’s nuclear nations – the US, Britain and France – have always kept a pre-emptive nuclear strike as a possible option. Russia dropped its pledge not to use nuclear weapons first in 1993.

A scenario of conflict between Russia and Nato members over one of the Baltic states was earlier explored by the BBC in a film, which focused on decision-making at a British advisory body responding to the crisis. In the film, the stand-off escalated into a full-scale nuclear conflict and the advisers contemplating an option to destroy Russia’s biggest cities with Trident missiles.

https://www.rt.com/news/343420-nato-nuclear-war-russia/

Categories: Uncategorized

The Dreadful Kagan Clan

Hillary’s Warmongers-In-Waiting

by David Stockman via Contra Corner blog {1}

Zero Hedge (May 22 2016)

The US is heading straight for a fiscal calamity in the next decade. Even if you believe the CBO’s Rosy Scenario projections – which assume that we will go 207 months thru 2026 without a recession or double the longest expansion on record and nearly four times the normal cycle length – we will still end up with $28 trillion of national debt and a $1.3 trillion annual deficit (five percent of GDP) by 2026.

But that’s the optimistic case! As I demonstrated recently, if you get real about all the enormous headwinds down the road – including the virtual certainty that the Red Ponzi will have a crashing landing and take the global economy down with it – you end up with a truly dismal picture.

To wit, just assume economic performance during the next ten years is no better or worse than the average of the last ten years, including the last decade’s 2.5% growth rate of wage and salary income.

The result is that by the out-years CBO has over-estimated taxable income by more than twenty percent or $2 trillion per year; and that means, in turn, that CBOs current forecast is built on massive phantom revenues, given that under current law the payroll and income tax take from wages and salaries is just under 35%.

Accordingly, with sober economic assumptions and existing policy, the annual deficit is heading for $2~3 trillion per year by the middle of the next decade. This means the nation will accumulate incremental debt of $15 trillion or more in the interim, and that by 2026 the national debt will reach $34 trillion or 140% of GDP.

Those are Greek style fiscal ratios. And they would come at the very time that the 78 million strong baby-boom generation is at peak retirement levels.

Yet, not only does Hillary Clinton insist that social security benefits are sacrosanct and actually need to be increased, along with lowering the Medicare age to fifty years, she also insists that Washington remain the world’s policeman and imperial hegemon.

In a word, a Clinton presidency would mean Big Government on both sides of the Potomac – a combined Warfare State and Welfare State that would positively bankrupt the nation during the next decade.

The fact is, Washington is still spending upwards of $700 billion per year on defense, international security assistance, foreign aid and the rest of the surveillance state; and the total is more than $850 billion if you count the cost of supporting veterans from all the misbegotten wars and interventions going back to the 1950s.

More importantly, the iron law of Washington politics – demonstrated in spades during the Reagan era – is that entitlements and other domestic programs will never be cut or reformed so long as massive funding is being sluiced into the military-industry-security complex. Its always pork barrel uber alles.

And that brings us to the deplorable Kagan clan – Washington’s leading resident family of war-mongering neo-cons. The odds are that, if elected President, Hillary would likely choose one of them – her protege during her stint in the Obama administration, Victoria Nuland – as Secretary of State.

Yet that would be lights out for any hope of caging Washington’s imperial ambitions and reducing the massive and utterly unnecessary burden of current defense spending. The truth is, there are few greater menaces in the Imperial City today than Victoria Nuland.

Not only does she happen to be married to Bob Kagen, the leading neocon guru of global interventionism and regime change, but she earned her spurs as a key aid to Dick Cheney.

No matter. When the American public naively thought it elected the “peace” candidate in 2008, Nuland just changed her Jersey, joined Hillary’s team at State, and by 2013 was assistant secretary for European Affairs.

And that’s when Nuland’s rampage of everlasting shame began. She was the main architect of the coup in Kiev in February 2014 that overthrow the constitutionally elected government of the Ukraine, thereby commencing the whole sequence of confrontations with Russia and the full-throated demonization of Vladimir Putin that has followed.

Needless to say, overthrowing an elected government on Russia’s front doorstep had nothing to do with the safety and security of the American people. But it did rekindle ancient tensions between the nationalistic Ukrainians and neo-Nazis who seized power with Washington’s help and the Russian speaking populations in the Donbas and Crimea, who felt suddenly imperiled and turned to Moscow for protection.

Indeed, the Kiev uprising would never have happened without huge amounts of covert aid and instigation from Washington. Nuland’s appearance at the Maidan Square demonstrations amounted to what would be an unthinkable violation of sovereignty anywhere else in the world. Accordingly, the coup was a straight out imperial grab designed to bring the Ukraine into Nato and to extend Washington’s hegemony to the entirely of the old Warsaw bloc geography.

Hillary’s favorite candidate for Secretary of State, therefore, almost single-handedly restarted the cold war and pulled the US and Europe into what has become a dragnet of costly economic sanctions that are completely pointless and unnecessary.

And Hillary Clinton has been onboard for this misbegotten campaign from the get-go. At one point she actually likened Vladimir Putin to Adolf Hitler.

C’mon. The man’s a monumental crook and no model citizen of the world, but he is no threat to American security whatsoever.

He presides over a third rate economy no larger than the GDP of the New York SMSA that essentially consists of a complex of petroleum fields, grain farms and metal mines and a lethargic work force with a fondness for Vodka.

At the time the constitutionally elected government of Ukraine was being overthrown by Victoria Nuland’s mob of economically deprived citizens, disgruntled nationalists and crypto-Nazi agitators in February 2014, Putin was basking in the glory of the Sochi Olympics. And before that he had spent his time having petty quarrels with the crook who took-over the tiny state of Georgia after the Soviet Union disappeared and similar no-count machinations along his historic borders.

The world disdained his oafish character, but no one claimed that he was fixing to invade Europe. There was not a shred of evidence for it.

At the same time, any one who knew the slightest thing about Ukraine’s history and its long co-existence in the shadow of Mother Russia understood that bringing it into Nato was a decidedly stupid idea; that for 200 years Crimea had been a integral part of Russia that was only “gifted” to Ukraine by Kruschev (aka Khrushchev) during his post-Stalin consolidation of power in the Kremlin; and that now threatening Russia’s rented naval homeport in Sevastopol, Crimea was sheer folly.

Not Hillary. She was soon figuratively at the barricades right alongside Nuland justifying the folly of the Nato confrontation with Russia and the self-defeating economic sanctions against Putin.

Even though she was out of office and in a position to recognize that the very same “partition” solution that had led to the severance of Kosovo from Serbia during the 1990s could have solved the Donbas and Crimea issues, she was having none of it.

Instead, by her lights Nato, which should have been disbanded after 1991, needs to go to the brink with Putin over essentially a Ukrainian civil war.

It is no wonder, therefore, that Imperial Washington is lining up behind Hillary, and that the deplorable Kagan Clan is fixing to retain its insidious influence for another Presidential term.

The fact is, Hillary Clinton has spent a lifetime serving the Warfare state and absorbing its pretensions and ideologies. She allegedly protested the Vietnam War before becoming a Republican summer intern in 1967, but to my knowledge that was the last war she didn’t embrace.

She was an enthusiastic backer of Bill Clinton’s feckless military interventions in the Balkans during the 1990s and a signed-up hawk for George Bush’s catastrophic wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

As Donald Trump rightly says, her time as Secretary of State was an unmitigated disaster. The “peace candidate” actually won the 2008 election, but Secretary Clinton along with lifetime CIA operative and unabashed war-monger, Robert Gates, saw to it that peace never got a chance.

From the pointless, bloody “surge” in Afghanistan to the destructive intervention in Libya to the arming and aiding of jihadist radicals in Syria, Hillary has proved herself to be a shrill harpy of military mayhem. Indeed, she brought a fillip to the neocon playbook that has made Imperial Washington even more trigger happy.

To wit, Clinton has been a tireless proponent of the insidious doctrine of R2P or “responsibility to protect”. No one in their right mind could have concluded that the aging, pacified, tent-bound Moammar Khadafy was a threat to the safety and security of the American people. Even the community organizer from South Chicago wanted to keep the American bombers parked on their runways.

But Hillary’s infamous emails leave no doubt that it was she who induced Obama to embrace the folly that quickly created yet another failed state, hotbed of jihadism and barbaric hellhole in the middle east. Indeed, her hands are doubly bloody.

When Hillary bragged that “We came, we saw, he died”, it turns out that not just Khadafy but thousands of innocents have died, and not just from the chaos unleashed in Libya itself. The former dictator’s arsenals and mercenaries have now been dispersed all over North Africa and the middle east, spreading desolation in their wake.

But a Hillary Clinton presidency would only guarantee more of the same. And as the following excellent piece from Phil Giraldi at the American Conservative explains {2}, it would also keep the nation’s leading clan of warmongers firmly ensconced in the corridors of power:

 

 

The other day, a question popped up on a Facebook thread I was commenting on: “Where is Victoria Nuland?” The short answer, of course, is that she is still holding down her position as assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs.

But a related question begs for a more expansive response: Where will Victoria Nuland be after January? Nuland is one of Hillary Clinton’s proteges at the State Department, and she is also greatly admired by hardline Republicans. This suggests she would be easily approved by Congress as secretary of state or maybe even national-security adviser – which in turn suggests that her foreign-policy views deserve a closer look.

Nuland comes from what might be called the First Family of Military Interventionists. Her husband, Robert Kagan, is a leading neoconservative who co-founded the Project for the New American Century in 1998 around a demand for “regime change” in Iraq. He is currently a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, an author, and a regular contributor to the op-ed pages of a number of national newspapers. He has already declared that he will be voting for Hillary Clinton in November, a shift away from the GOP that many have seen as a clever career-enhancing move for both him and his wife.

Robert’s brother, Fred, is with the hawkish American Enterprise Institute, and his sister-in-law, Kimberly, is the head of the Institute for the Study of War, which is largely funded by defense contractors. The Kagans work to encourage military action, both through their positions in government and by influencing the public debate through think-tank reports and op-eds. It is a family enterprise that mirrors the military-industrial complex as a whole, with think tanks coming up with reasons to increase military spending and providing “expert” support for the government officials who actually promote and implement the policies. Defense contractors, meanwhile, benefit from the largesse and kick back some money to the think tanks, which then develop new reasons to spend still more on military procurement.

The Kagans’ underlying belief is that the United States has both the power and the obligation to replace governments that are considered either uncooperative with Washington (the “Leader of the Free World”) or hostile to American interests. American interests are, of course, mutable, and they include values like democracy and the rule of law as well as practical considerations such as economic and political competition. Given the elasticity of the interests, many countries can be and are considered potential targets for Washington’s tender ministrations.

For what it’s worth, President Obama is reportedly an admirer {3} of Robert Kagan’s books, which argue that the US must maintain its military power to accommodate its “global responsibilities”. The persistence of neoconservative foreign-policy views in the Obama administration has often been remarked upon, though Democrats and Republicans embrace military interventionism for different reasons. The GOP sees it as an international leadership imperative driven by American “exceptionalism”, while the Dems romanticize “liberal intervention” as a sometimes-necessary evil undertaken most often for humanitarian reasons. But the result is the same, as no administration wants to be seen as weak when dealing with the outside world. George W Bush’s catastrophic failures in Afghanistan and Iraq continue to bear fruit under a Democratic administration, while Obama has added a string of additional “boots on the ground” interventions in Libya, Syria, Yemen, the Philippines, and Somalia.

And Nuland herself {4}, many will recall, was the driving force behind efforts to destabilize the Ukrainian government of President Viktor Yanukovych in 2013~2014. Yanukovych, admittedly a corrupt autocrat, nevertheless assumed office after a free election. In spite of the fact that Washington and Kiev ostensibly had friendly relations, Nuland provided open support for the Maidan Square demonstrators opposed to Yanukovych’s government, passing out cookies {5} to protesters on the square and holding photo ops with a beaming Senator John McCain.

Nuland started her rapid rise as an adviser to Vice President Dick Cheney. Subsequently, she was serially promoted by secretaries of state Hillary Clinton and John Kerry, attaining her current position in September 2013. But it was her behavior in Ukraine that made her a media figure. It is hard to imagine that any US administration would tolerate a similar attempt by a foreign nation to interfere in domestic politics, particularly if it were backed by a $5 billion budget {6}, but Washington has long adhered to a double standard when evaluating its own behavior.

Nuland is most famous for using foul language {7} when referring to the potential European role in managing the unrest in Ukraine that she and the National Endowment for Democracy (“NED”) had helped create. She even discussed with US Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt who the new leader of Ukraine ought to be. “Yats is the guy” she said (referring to Arseniy Yatsenyuk), while pondering how she would “glue this thing” as Pyatt simultaneously considered how to “midwife” it. Their insecure phone call was intercepted and leaked {8}, possibly by the Russian intelligence service, though anyone equipped with a scanner could have done the job.

The inevitable replacement of the government in Kiev, actually a coup but sold to the media as a triumph for “democracy”, was only the prelude to a sharp break – and escalating conflict – with Moscow over Russia’s attempts to protect its own interests in Ukraine. The new regime in Kiev, as corrupt as its predecessor and supported by neo-Nazis and ultra-nationalists, was consistently whitewashed in the Western media, and the conflict was depicted as “pro-democracy” forces resisting unprovoked “Russian aggression”.

Indeed, the real objective of interfering in Ukraine was, right from the start, to install a regime hostile to Moscow. Carl Gershman, the head of the taxpayer-funded NED, called Ukraine {9} “the biggest prize” in the effort to topple Russian President Vladimir Putin, who “may find himself on the losing end not just in the near abroad but within Russia itself”. But Gershman and Nuland were playing with fire in their assessment, as Russia had vital interests at stake and is the only nation with the military capability to destroy the US.

And make no mistake about Nuland’s clear intention to expand the conflict and directly confront Moscow. In Senate testimony in May of 2014, she noted {10} how the Obama administration was “providing support to other frontline states like Moldova and Georgia”.

Nuland and her neoconservative allies celebrated their “regime change” in Kiev oblivious to the fact that Putin would recognize the strategic threat to his own country and would react, particularly to protect the historic Russian naval base at Sevastopol in Crimea. Barack Obama responded predictably, initiating what soon became something like a new Cold War against Russia, risking escalation into a possible nuclear confrontation. It was a crisis that would not have existed but for Nuland and her allies.

Though there was no evidence that Putin had initiated the Ukraine crisis and much evidence to the contrary, the US government propaganda machine rolled into action, claiming that Russia’s measures in Ukraine would be the first step in an invasion of Eastern Europe. Former Secretary of State Clinton dutifully compared Putin {11} to Adolf Hitler. And Robert Kagan provided the argument for more intervention, producing a lengthy essay in The New Republic entitled “Superpowers Don’t Get to Retire” {12}, in which he criticized President Obama for failing to maintain American dominance in the world. The New York Times revealed {13} that the essay was apparently part of a joint project in which Nuland regularly edited her husband’s articles, even though this particular piece attacked the administration she worked for.

As the situation in Ukraine continued to deteriorate in 2014, Nuland exerted herself to scuttle several European attempts to arrange a ceasefire. When Nato Commander Air Force General Philip Breedlove was cited as being in favor of sending more weapons to the Ukrainian government to “raise the battlefield cost for Putin”, Nuland commented {14}, “I’d strongly urge you to use the phrase ‘defensive systems’ that we would deliver to oppose Putin’s ‘offensive systems’ “.

To return to the initial question of where Victoria Nuland is, the long answer would be that while she is not much in the news, she is continuing to provide support for policies that the White House apparently approves of. Late last month, she was again in Kiev. She criticized Russia for its lack of press freedom and its “puppets” in the Donbas region while telling {15} a Ukrainian audience about a “strong US commitment to stand with Ukraine as it stays on the path of a clean, democratic, European future. … We remain committed to retaining sanctions that apply to the situation in Crimea until Crimea is returned to Ukraine”. Before that, she was in Cyprus and France {16} discussing “a range of regional and global issues with senior government officials”.

But one has to suspect that, at this point, she is mainly waiting to see what happens in November. And wondering where she might be going in January.

 

 

Links:

{1} http://davidstockmanscontracorner.com/the-dreadful-kagan-clan-hillarys-warmongers-in-waiting/

{2} http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/clintons-hawk-in-waiting/

{3} http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/14/books/the-world-america-made-by-robert-kagan.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

{4} http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Victoria_Nuland

{5} http://ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2014/february/05/victoria-nuland-the-bride-at-every-wedding.aspx

{6} http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article37599.htm

{7} http://www.theguardian.com/world/video/2014/feb/07/eu-us-diplomat-victoria-nuland-phonecall-leaked-video

{8} http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-26079957

{9} https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/former-soviet-states-stand-up-to-russia-will-the-us/2013/09/26/b5ad2be4-246a-11e3-b75d-5b7f66349852_story.html

{10} http://rt.com/news/157808-nuland-grilled-ukraine-costs/

{11} https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-politics/wp/2014/03/05/hillary-clinton-says-putins-action-are-like-what-hitler-did-back-in-the-30s/

{12} http://www.newrepublic.com/article/117859/allure-normalcy-what-america-still-owes-world

{13} http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/16/us/politics/historians-critique-of-obama-foreign-policy-is-brought-alive-by-events-in-iraq.html?_r=0

{14} https://consortiumnews.com/2015/03/20/a-family-business-of-perpetual-war/?print=print

{15} http://ukraine.usembassy.gov/statements/nuland-04272016.html

{16} http://www.state.gov/p/eur/255981.htm

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-05-22/dreadful-kagan-clan-hillarys-warmongers-waiting

Categories: Uncategorized

Saint Louis Fed Slams Draghi, Kuroda

“Negative Rates Are Taxes In Sheep’s Clothing”

by Tyler Durden

Zero Hedge (May 09 2016)

 

At the end of the day, negative interest rates are taxes in sheep’s clothing. Few economists would ever claim that raising taxes on households will stimulate spending. So why would they think negative interest rates will?

 

Those are the shocking words of Saint Louis Federal Reserve (“Fed”) Director of Research Christopher Waller {1} whose brief note today will be required reading for everyone at The Bank of Japan, the ECB and every other central banker on the verge of negative interest rate policy (“NIRP”) …

 

If you pick up any principles of economics textbook, there will typically be a discussion of taxes and tax incidence. Tax incidence describes who bears the burden of a tax. For example, suppose the government levies a payroll tax on a firm. The burden of the tax may be borne by the firm, the workers or the firm’s customers.

How can this be if the firm is responsible for paying the tax? The firm may bear the burden of the tax by accepting lower after-tax profits. However, the firm can pass the tax onto its workers by paying them lower wages or hiring fewer workers. The firm can also pass the tax onto its customers by charging them a higher price for the firm’s output. In general, all parties bear some portion of the tax.

Similarities to Taxes on Banks

This logic also applies to a tax levied on banks. Banks hire inputs (in this case, deposits), which are used to produce output (loans). The bank charges a price for its output (the interest rate on the loan) and pays wages to its inputs (the interest rate on deposits).

The spread between the loan rate and the deposit rate determines the profit margin for the firm on a loan (ignoring default costs and other costs for ease of exposition). So any tax imposed on banks will be borne by the bank, the depositors and/or the borrowers. The firm can bear the burden of the tax by accepting lower profits. However, the bank can also pass the tax onto depositors by paying a lower interest rate on deposits and/or pass the tax onto borrowers by charging them a higher interest rate on loans.

Negative Interest Rates

This brings us to negative interest rates. Many foreign central banks – such as the European Central Bank, the Bank of Japan and the Swiss National Bank – have implemented negative interest rates on bank reserves as a policy tool to stimulate demand for goods and services. If a bank holds a dollar of reserves, the central bank may take, say, half a cent.

The hope is that a negative interest rate will induce firms to lend out the reserves by charging a lower interest rate on loans. In short, “use it or lose it”. More lending would stimulate spending on goods and services, which would lead to higher output and upward pressure on inflation.

A Tax on Reserves

But a negative interest rate is just a tax on the banks’ reserves. The tax has to be borne by someone:

* The banks can choose not to pass it on and just have lower after-tax profits. This will depress the share price of banks and weaken their balance sheets by having lower equity values.

* The banks can pass the tax onto depositors by paying a lower interest rate on deposits or charging them fees for holding the deposits. In either case, depositors have less income to spend on goods and services.

* The bank can pass the tax onto borrowers by charging them a higher interest rate on a loan or higher fees for processing the loan. In either case, it is more costly to finance purchases of goods and services by borrowing.

None of this sounds very “stimulative” for consumer spending. But then, no tax ever is.

Negative Interest Rates in Other Countries

What has happened so far in countries that have tried negative interest rates? The figures below provide answers. As seen in the first chart, bank stock prices have definitely taken a hit.

After initially continuing their downward trends, interest rates on mortgages have now risen in Germany and Switzerland (the second chart).

Banks have been very reluctant to charge negative deposit rates for fear of a backlash from customers (the third chart).

At the end of the day, negative interest rates are taxes in sheep’s clothing. Few economists would ever claim that raising taxes on households will stimulate spending. So why would they think negative interest rates will? {1}

With thirteen of the world’s developed’ nations seeing negative rates at the two-year maturity …

One has to wonder, if Mr Waller’s research will be the straw that breaks the camel’s back of extreme monetary policy. We suspect not of course, but a renewed focus on quantitative easing (“QE”) over deeper-NIRP is coming no matter what.

Links:

{1} https://www.stlouisfed.org/on-the-economy/2016/may/negative-interest-rates-tax-sheep-clothing

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-05-09/st-louis-fed-slams-draghi-kuroda-negative-rates-are-taxes-sheeps-clothing

Categories: Uncategorized

American Horror Story

2016/05/24 1 comment

The Shameful Truth About the Government’s Secret Experiments

by John Whitehead via The Rutherford Institute {1}

Zero Hedge (May 10 2016)

 

 

Of all tyrannies a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.

– C S Lewis

 

 

Fool me once, shame on you.

“You” in this case is the government that keeps violating the sacred trust of its citizenry.

Fool me twice, shame on me.

“Me” in this case is the collective “we the people” who should have learned early on that a government that repeatedly lies, breaks the laws, overreaches its authority and abuses its power can’t be trusted.

Fool me over and over and over again, shame on both of us.

Shame on every politician, bureaucrat and technician who is a shill for the US government’s abuses and lies, and shame on every gullible American who keeps buying into the government’s propaganda, believing that it has our best interests at heart.

Unfortunately, as I point out in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People {2}, the government has seldom had our best interests at heart.

The government didn’t have our best interests at heart when it propelled us into endless oil-fueled wars and military occupations in the Middle East that wreaked havoc on our economy, stretched thin our military resources and subjected us to horrific blowback.

There is no way the government had our best interests at heart when it passed laws subjecting us to all manner of invasive searches and surveillance, censoring our speech and stifling our expression, rendering us anti-government extremists for daring to disagree with its dictates, locking us up for criticizing government policies on social media, encouraging Americans to spy and snitch on their fellow citizens, and allowing government agents to grope, strip, search, taser, shoot and kill us.

Certainly the government did not have our best interests at heart when it turned America into a battlefield, transforming law enforcement agencies into extensions of the military, conducting military drills on domestic soil, distributing “free” military equipment and weaponry to local police, and desensitizing Americans to the menace of the police state with active shooter drills, color-coded terror alerts, and randomly conducted security checkpoints at “soft” targets such as shopping malls and sports arenas.

It would be a reach to suggest that the government had our best interests at heart when it locked down the schools, installing metal detectors and surveillance cameras, adopting zero tolerance policies that punish childish behavior as harshly as criminal actions, and teaching our young people that they have no rights, that being force-fed facts is education rather than indoctrination, that they are not to question governmental authority, that they must meekly accept a life of censorship, round-the-clock surveillance, roadside blood draws, SWAT team raids and other indignities.

One would also be hard-pressed to suggest that the American government had our best interests at heart when it conducted secret experiments on an unsuspecting populace {3} – citizens and non-citizens alike – making healthy people sick by spraying them with chemicals, injecting them with infectious diseases and exposing them to airborne toxins. The government reasoned that it was legitimate to experiment on people who did not have full rights in society such as prisoners, mental patients, and poor blacks.

The mindset driving these programs has, appropriately, been likened to that of Nazi doctors experimenting on Jews {3}. As the Holocaust Museum recounts {4}, Nazi physicians “conducted painful and often deadly experiments on thousands of concentration camp prisoners without their consent”. These unethical experiments {4} ran the gamut from freezing experiments using prisoners to find an effective treatment for hypothermia, tests to determine the maximum altitude for parachuting out of a plane, injecting prisoners with malaria, typhus, tuberculosis, typhoid fever, yellow fever, and infectious hepatitis, exposing prisoners to phosgene and mustard gas, and mass sterilization experiments.

It’s easy to denounce the full-frontal horrors carried out by the scientific and medical community within a despotic regime such as Nazi Germany, but what do you do with a government that claims to be a champion of human rights all the while allowing its agents to engage in the foulest, basest and most despicable acts of torture, abuse and human experimentation?

In Alabama, for example, 600 black men with syphilis were allowed to suffer without proper medical treatment in order to study the natural progression of untreated syphilis. In California, older prisoners had testicles from livestock and from recently executed convicts implanted in them to test their virility. In Connecticut, mental patients were injected with hepatitis.

In Maryland, sleeping prisoners had a pandemic flu virus sprayed up their noses. In Georgia, two dozen “volunteering” prison inmates had gonorrhea bacteria pumped directly into their urinary tracts through the penis. In Michigan, male patients at an insane asylum were exposed to the flu {5} after first being injected with an experimental flu vaccine. In Minnesota, eleven public service employee “volunteers” were injected with malaria, then starved for five days.

In New York, dying patients {6} had cancer cells introduced into their systems. In Ohio, over 100 inmates were injected with live cancer cells {6}. Also in New York, prisoners at a reformatory prison were also split into two groups to determine how a deadly stomach virus was spread: the first group was made to swallow an unfiltered stool suspension, while the second group merely breathed in germs sprayed into the air. And in Staten Island, children with mental retardation were given hepatitis orally and by injection {7} to see if they could then be cured.

As the Associated Press reports,

 

 

The late 1940s and 1950s saw huge growth in the US pharmaceutical and health care industries, accompanied by a boom in prisoner experiments funded by both the government and corporations. By the 1960s, at least half the states allowed prisoners to be used as medical guinea pigs … because they were cheaper than chimpanzees. {4}

 

 

Moreover, “Some of these studies, mostly from the 1940s to the 1960s, apparently were never covered by news media {3}. Others were reported at the time, but the focus was on the promise of enduring new cures, while glossing over how test subjects were treated.”

Media blackouts, propaganda, spin. Sound familiar? How many government incursions into our freedoms have been blacked out, buried under “entertainment” news headlines, or spun in such a way as to suggest that anyone voicing a word of caution is paranoid or conspiratorial?

Unfortunately, these incidents are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the atrocities the government has inflicted on an unsuspecting populace in the name of secret experimentation.

For instance, there was the US military’s secret race-based testing of mustard gas on more than 60,000 enlisted men {8}. As NPR reports,

 

 

All of the World War Two experiments with mustard gas were done in secret and weren’t recorded on the subjects’ official military records. Most do not have proof of what they went through. They received no follow-up health care or monitoring of any kind. And they were sworn to secrecy about the tests under threat of dishonorable discharge and military prison time, leaving some unable to receive adequate medical treatment for their injuries, because they couldn’t tell doctors what happened to them.

 

 

And then there was the CIA’s MKULTRA program in which hundreds of unsuspecting American civilians and military personnel were dosed with LSD {9}, some having the hallucinogenic drug slipped into their drinks at the beach, in city bars, at restaurants. As Time reports, “before the documentation and other facts of the program were made public, those who talked of it were frequently dismissed as being psychotic”.

Now one might argue that this is all ancient history and that the government today is different from the government of yesteryear. But has the US government really changed?

Has the government become any more humane, any more respectful of the rights of the citizenry? Has it become any more transparent or willing to abide by the rule of law? Has it become any more truthful about its activities? Has it become any more cognizant of its appointed role as a guardian of our rights?

Or has the government simply hunkered down and hidden its nefarious acts and dastardly experiments under layers of secrecy, legalism and obfuscations? Has it not become wilier, more slippery, more difficult to pin down? Having mastered the Orwellian art of Doublespeak and followed the Huxleyan blueprint for distraction and diversion, are we not dealing with a government that is simply craftier and more conniving that it used to be?

Consider this: after revelations about the government’s experiments spanning the 20th century spawned outrage, the government began looking for human guinea pigs in other countries {3}, where “clinical trials could be done more cheaply and with fewer rules”.

In Guatemala, prisoners and patients at a mental hospital were infected with syphilis, “apparently to test whether penicillin could prevent some sexually transmitted disease”. More recently, US-funded doctors “failed to give the AIDS drug AZT to all the HIV-infected pregnant women {3} in a study in Uganda even though it would have protected their newborns”. Meanwhile, in Nigeria, children with meningitis were used to test an antibiotic named Trovan. Eleven children died {3} and many others were left disabled.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Case in point: it has just been announced that scientists working for the Department of Homeland Security will begin releasing various gases and particles on crowded subway platforms {10} as part of an experiment aimed at testing bioterror airflow in New York subways.

The government insists that these gases being released into the subways by the DHS are nontoxic and do not pose a health risk. It’s in our best interests, they say, to understand how quickly a chemical or biological terrorist attack might spread. And look how cool the technology is – say the government cheerleaders – that scientists can use something called DNATrax {20} to track the movement of microscopic substances in air and food. (Imagine the kinds of surveillance {11} that could be carried out by the government using trackable airborne microscopic substances {12} you breathe in or ingest …)

Mind you, this is the same government agency that has been likened to a “wasteful, growing, fear-mongering beast {13}” by the Washington Post.

This is the same government that in 1949 sprayed bacteria into the Pentagon’s air handling system {14}, then the world’s largest office building. In 1950, special ops forces sprayed bacteria from Navy ships off the coast of Norfolk and San Francisco {14}, in the latter case exposing all of the city’s 800,000 residents. In 1953, government operatives staged “mock” anthrax attacks on Saint Louis, Minneapolis, and Winnipeg {14} using generators placed on top of cars. Local governments were reportedly told that “‘invisible smokescreen[s]’ were being deployed to mask the city on enemy radar”. Later experiments covered territory as wide-ranging as Ohio to Texas and Michigan to Kansas. In 1965, the government’s experiments in bioterror took aim at Washington’s National Airport, followed by a 1966 experiment in which army scientists exposed a million New York City subway passengers to airborne bacteria that causes food poisoning {10}.

And this is the same government that has taken every bit of technology sold to us as being in our best interests – GPS devices, surveillance, nonlethal weapons, et cetera – and used it against us, to track, control and trap us.

So when so-called conspiracy theorists – including the late rock musician Prince and civil rights activist Dick Gregory {15} – suggest that those streaks crisscrossing the sky are chemtrails laced with behavior-modifying chemicals, you might want to tamp down on that kneejerk reaction that chalks them up as nuts. After all, the government has done it before, lacing the fog over San Francisco with bioweapons {16} (delivered by Navy ships moored nearby). In fact, not that long ago, the Obama administration declared by way of executive order that federal agencies are now authorized to conduct behavioral experiments on US citizens {17} in order to advance government initiatives?

Are you getting my drift yet?

What kind of government perpetrates such horrific acts on human beings, whether or not they are citizens? Is there any difference between a government mindset that justifies experimenting on prisoners because they’re “cheaper than chimpanzees” and a government that sanctions jailhouse strip searches of individuals charged with minor infractions simply because it’s easier on a jail warden’s workload?

And when all is said and done, what kind of people rationalize, write off, or just turn a blind eye to such monstrous acts of inhumanity?

Shame on the government, yes, but shame on us for blindly trusting that the government’s motives and priorities have changed.

Shame on us for believing that the government’s bloody wars on terror are keeping us safe in any way. Shame on us for placing greater value on the government’s phantom promises of security over our own hard-won freedoms. Shame on us for allowing our government, our freedoms and the rule of law to be held hostage at the end of a military-issued gun.

Shame on us for letting ourselves be played for fools by individuals who care nothing for us, our our health, our happiness, our welfare, our livelihood, our property or our freedoms. Shame on us for letting ourselves be bamboozled about the war on terror, deceived about the need to trade our freedoms for greater security, and conned into believing that turning America into a battlefield will actually make us safer. Shame on us for letting ourselves be double-crossed by politicians who promise change and reform and hoodwinked into believing that politics is the answer to what ails the nation. Shame on us for not doing a better job of ensuring that future generations have some hope for a better, freer future.

Most of all, shame on us that even after being repeatedly tricked, deluded, misled, swindled and betrayed by government officials, even after learning about the many ways in which we have been duped and deluded, shame on us for still falling for the government’s trickery, chicanery, hocus-pocus, scams and lies.

Shame on us, yes, but still, the question remains: why? What’s in it for the government?

Perhaps the answer lies in The Third Man, Carol Reed’s influential 1949 film starring Joseph Cotten and Orson Welles. In the film, set in a post-World War Two Vienna, rogue war profiteer Harry Lime has come to view human carnage with a callous indifference, unconcerned that the diluted penicillin he’s been trafficking underground has resulted in the tortured deaths of young children.

Challenged by his old friend Holly Martins to consider the consequences of his actions, Lime responds, “In these days, old man, nobody thinks in terms of human beings. Governments don’t, so why should we?”

“Have you ever seen any of your victims?” asks Martins.

“Victims?” responds Limes, as he looks down from the top of a Ferris wheel onto a populace reduced to mere dots on the ground. “Look down there. Tell me. Would you really feel any pity if one of those dots stopped moving forever? If I offered you twenty thousand pounds for every dot that stopped, would you really, old man, tell me to keep my money, or would you calculate how many dots you could afford to spare? Free of income tax, old man. Free of income tax – the only way you can save money nowadays.”

In other words, we are citizens of a government that has dehumanized us and reduced us to little more than faceless numbers, statistics and economic units.

What’s in it for the government? Money and power. Or as John Lennon summed it up, “I think we’re being run by maniacs for maniacal ends and I think I’m liable to be put away as insane for expressing that”.

Links:

{1} https://www.rutherford.org/publications_resources/john_whiteheads_commentary/american_horror_story_the_shameful_truth_about_the_governments_secret_

{2} http://www.amazon.com/Battlefield-America-War-American-People/dp/1590793099

{3} http://www.nbcnews.com/id/41811750/ns/health-health_care/t/ugly-past-us-human-experiments-uncovered/#.VzCAwBUrKRs

{4} https://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/article.php?ModuleId=10005168

{5} http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/medical-slideshow-code/

{6} http://gme.kaiserpapers.org/they-were-cheap-and-available.html

{7} http://science.education.nih.gov/supplements/nih9/bioethics/guide/pdf/Master_5-4.pdf

{8} http://www.npr.org/2015/06/22/415194765/u-s-troops-tested-by-race-in-secret-world-war-ii-chemical-experiments

{9} http://healthland.time.com/2012/03/23/the-legacy-of-the-cias-secret-lsd-experiments-on-america/

{10} http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2016/05/dhs-will-test-bioterror-airflow-in-nyc-subway.html

{11} https://www.insidescience.org/content/spray-dna-barcode-tracks-harmful-chemicals/2471

{12} http://www.gizmag.com/dnatrax-food-tracking/35499/

{13} https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-watch/wp/2014/05/07/dhs-a-wasteful-growing-fear-mongering-beast/

{14} http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/features/general-article/weapon-secret-testing/

{15} http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2016/04/24/when-prince-took-on-reagan-and-chemtrails.html

{16} http://www.businessinsider.com/the-military-tested-bacterial-weapons-in-san-francisco-2015-7

{17} http://dailycaller.com/2015/09/15/president-obama-orders-behavioral-experiments-on-american-public/

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-05-10/american-horror-story-shameful-truth-about-governments-secret-experiments

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